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French Protesters Take Stand Against Hate, Far-Right National Front

Actions in several cities follow landmark electoral win by anti-immigrant party

A scene from the protest in Paris on Thursday. The placard with Nelson Mandela is significant because some members of the National Front had objected to the naming of a square after him, citing his "terrorist past." (Photo: Renaud LEON/cc/flickr)

Thousands of protesters poured into the streets of France on Thursday against the far-right National Front party.

The demonstrations followed Sunday's landmark electoral win by the party, which the country's Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls described as being "more than another warning; it's a shock, an earthquake."

In addition to a protest of about 4,000 people in Paris, smaller protests took place in other cities as well, including Marseille, Nancy, Nantes, Toulouse and Lyon.

One protester said that the protest was necessary "to show that there is an alternative to the National Front," and that there are still those who have hope for a different from path from austerity and hate.

"We respect the result of the European elections, of democracy, but we do not accept the values of the National Front," Silvio Philippe, one of the organizers of the Lyon rally, told Agence France-Presse. "French democracy is in danger," he said.

YouTube user Coline Peyrony uploaded video of some of the demonstrators in Paris, which can be seen below. She adds in text: "We protested because we don't want to propagate hatred. Because we want equality."

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